Monday, April 5, 2010

Ravioli Party

A friend of mine at work and I were talking about homemade raviolis. And, some other girls were very intrigued. So, last weekend, I had three of my girlfriends over to try to make raviolis! I've made them by myself only once, but I've made them with family before several times.

It was slow going at first. We completely underestimated the amount of flour needed on the ravioli trays! The first little batch stuck to the tray pretty badly, but we were able to salvage them. Before we knew it, we were a dough-flattening, ravioli-stuffing, and pasta-crimping machine! It took us about 3 hours to make 13 dozen raviolis!

The physical kitchen work was only half the party. We are work friends, but, obviously, we don't have time to really hang out and get to know each other. We had so much fun! Everyone brought something to the party. I made the dough and roasted the squash ahead of time. Other people brought the ricotta, ground beef, and wine (a necessary ingredient for the chefs, of course!). And, everyone put their blood, sweat, and elbow grease into the pasta.

My friends aren't the most active in the kitchen, and most were intimidated by making homemade pasta. But, once they got involved and got the hang of it, it was awesome to see them in action coming up with better techniques to make the ravioli! I always tell them about my adventures in the kitchen and they think they don't have time or it's too hard to do. And, I am so glad I got to show them how much accessible and fun it is.

Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but there is nothing more fun than a group of girls cooking up a storm in the kitchen! It's mostly idle work, but that allows for some great conversation and friendship! Plus, you get to take home some tasty treats!....Even if it's not the best food you've eaten, you know how much love went into making it and you can feed your family some good food.

Makes 6 dozen ravioli
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour plus additional for dusting
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon salt
2 to 3 tablespoons water
1 lb ricotta
Fillings of your choice: Roasted butternut squash (pureed), spinach (water squeezed out), ground beef (1/2 lb browned and seasoned)

Blend flour, eggs, salt, and 2 tablespoons water in a food processor until mixture just begins to form a ball, adding more water, drop by drop, if dough is too dry (dough should be firm and not sticky). Process dough for 15 seconds more to knead it. Transfer to a floured surface and let stand, covered with an inverted bowl, 1 hour to let the gluten relax and make rolling easier.

Roll out dough as thin as possible. Flour ravioli tray generously. Cut pasta just larger than ravioli tray. Put 1 teaspoon of filling into each ravioli pocket. Place top pasta sheet over the lower layer and filling. Flour the top layer of pasta. Use rolling pin on tray until raviolis separate crimping the edges tightly. Invert ravioli tray and allow pasta to dry (if freezing pasta, put into freezer-safe container and freeze immediately).

Cook the ravioli in plenty of boiling, salted water for 10 to 15 minutes. Ravioli will float to the top when cooked. Lift the ravioli from water with slotted spoon.


Allison said...

This sounds fabulous, what a fun idea! I am totally intimidated by making my own dough ( I use a bread machine for my pizza dough and bread). But maybe I would attempt this with the support of some friends in the kitchen? Did you use a special tool for cutting and crimping? Very impressive!

Bonnie said...

Definitely a great time! Now that we've tackled this, we're thinking of what else we can make for a fill-up-the-freezer afternoon!

I used this little guy: Ravioli Press.